Re: An essay I just wrote on the Singularity.

From: Perry E. Metzger (
Date: Fri Jan 02 2004 - 23:10:39 MST

Tommy McCabe <> writes:
> --- "Perry E. Metzger" <> wrote:
>> "Ben Goertzel" <> writes:
>> > I don't think there is a correlation between high
>> IQ and psychological
>> > problems.
>> There most certainly is -- people with high IQs tend to have
>> serious social problems. That's not to say I would prefer to be
>> dumber, of course.
> Social problems?

Social problems, yes -- often severe ones.

> Our society is almost certainly not the ideal one, and has a lot of
> arbitrariness, so rejecting it could quite possibly be a good thing.

Well, that's fine so long as you don't care if you get the cooperation
of others towards achieving your goals. Unfortunately, as
accomplishing goals frequently requires that you get others to do
things you want -- getting them to work for you, have sex with you,
eat dinner with you, or a myriad of other things -- you might find
yourself wanting to get other people to like you or to do what you
want. That requires social skills.

>> Unclear. Many people who are possessed of high IQs lack "social
>> intelligence", and it may very well be a question of how much
>> effort can be put in to both problems simultaneously. It is hard to
>> be good at things like deep math or physics problems without being
>> obsessive about them -- but if you are obsessive about them, it
>> leads to spending a lot less time learning about social skills,
>> which can lead to things like having a lot more trouble doing
>> things like attracting a mate.
> Social skills are some of the most useless things society has
> adopted. Learning them and the other arbitrary conventions of
> society is more often than not a waste of time.

Depends on whether you want to get anything done involving other
people or not.

I'll also point out that for many of us, good social interactions are
in and of themselves pleasurable -- but I suppose everyone has their
own tastes.

By the way, let me note that the disparagement of social skills as
"arbitrary conventions" is rather off the mark -- they are simply a
mechanism of human communication, and a fairly important mechanism. It
is true that some specific conventions are arbitrary -- like the
choice of the word "yes" to mean the affirmative instead of "oui" or
"hai" or "ken" or "da". However, one would not claim that learning
human language is worthless simply because the details of the
communication mechanism involve certain kinds of arbitrary coding.

> Perhaps this would lessen people's willingness to cooperate with
> you, but that almost certainly doesn't carry over into
> transhumanity.

I can't conceive of that. Communication complexity rises as with the
complexity of the actors. Ants have a tiny repertoire of inflexible
communication. As one rises on the mental complexity scale,
complexity, flexibility and subtlety of communication only go
up. People have very complex social communications. One suspects that
subtlety of communication and cuing would, if anything, rise to
entirely new heights with with the complexity of transhuman minds and
the heightened stakes involved in the communications. BTW, that's one
of the reasons that asking for directions involves less social skill
than, say, determining if someone is interested in having sex with you
-- the stakes are on an entirely different level, so the subtlety of
the communicated cues changes a lot.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:43 MDT